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Graham James Headshot

Slap Fight In NYC!

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While this isn't really about living in Montclair, I thought I'd pass along this little Easter Sunday happening.

Our friends just had baby #2 in the city so we decided to load up the family and drive in to 1) see the new kid; 2) go to the old neighborhood; and 3) get Easter dinner at Tea & Sympathy on Greenwich Ave. It was a gorgeous Sunday in the West Village, so we parked the Subaru Outback on 12th Street and walked over to Bleecker Playground to hang out for a while and let the kids run around.

One thing that is interesting about the West Village these days is that there is a semi-class struggle happening between the well-offs and the super-rich. The well-offs are the long-time Village residents who live in apartments, take there kids to public school, attend rallies, complain about Bloomberg, etc. The super-rich are the bankers and moguls who have moved into $20M townhouses and celebrity-designed glass buildings on the Hudson river.

Generally these two groups exist in a state of relative harmony. The well-offs are accepting enough to tolerate the super-rich as fellow human beings, even if they can't stand what they are doing to their neighborhood -- which is basically driving up the rents, kicking out the local mom & pop stores in favor of big luxury brands, and tapping away at their BlackBerries while at the playground with their kids. The super-rich, on the other hand, probably would like the well-offs, that is, if they gave them much thought, which they don't.

Anyway, on this particular Easter Sunday, a well-off dad was playing football with his kids in the playground. They were running around, having a blast, but being kind of rough given that is was very crowded and there were lots of little kids around. When a super-rich dad, who happened to be sitting on a bench watching his kids (for the record, there was no confirmation that a BlackBerry was involved), asked the well-off dad to stop playing so rough, the well-off dad gave him one of those go-screw-yourself-richie looks before resuming the game. Things escalated from there with the super-rich guy calling the well-off dad an "asshole" for not being more careful in the playground. The well-off guy then stopped what he was doing, walked over, and smacked the super-rich guy across the face.

At this point I stood up and took a stance that I thought said, "let's just cool out here guys..." but in reality I probably just looked like some guy from Jersey standing in a playground with his hands on his hips. Meanwhile, the ladies present started to yell at both of the dads: "There are children here!" "Stop it you two!" and so on.

The well-off guy ended up backing down and in the end the only thing wounded on the super-rich guy was his masculinity. Eventually they both apologized to each other and actually shook hands. Maybe the class struggle had nothing to do with it and it was just a case of two jerks meeting in a park to fight in front of their children. Either way is was a good time for us bystanders from the suburbs.

After that excitement we ended up going to dinner (I had the Shepherd's Pie, Colleen had a tuna melt, Harry had mac and cheese, and Vivian had an entire bowl of baked beans). Then the kids and I waited in the car while Colleen ran up to our friend's apartment to say congratulations on the new baby. As we drove back to the Lincoln Tunnel to head home to Montclair we passed by our old apartment building. When Harry looked up at the place where he spent the first five years of his life he started to cry. Colleen asked him why he was crying and Harry said, "I miss my old neighborhood. I hate living in the suburbs, nothing cool ever happens there."